Probably one of the biggest misconceptions in weight loss management is that people who are overweight – even very overweight – are sitting at a table eating mountains of food. Most patients who come to see me express intense frustration with their weight. They swear to me up and down that their weight problem is unfair since they’re certain they’re eating virtually nothing more than the thinner people around them. The fact is, I believe them, and they are probably right.
Your body needs a certain amount of fuel (calories) to live your life. Calories give you the fuel to stand up in the morning, to walk to your car, to pick up children, to shop, to walk upstairs, to beat your heart, and to get your legs to move. I’ll spare you the complicated graphs and simply give you the bottom line: if you were to take in as little as 1% more calories than you need to power your daily life, you will gain weight.
In fact, that excess 1% over what your body needs can add as much as 100 pounds to your body in 10 years! Just try to wrap your mind around that for a minute. That 1% over what your body requires might be as little as 100-200 calories a day. With food (or ‘fake food’) so abundant in our society, it’s very easy to eat 100 invisible calories a day. (I’ll give you some examples: imagine eating a candy bar for a snack, an extra large soda at the movie theater, an extra helping at mom’s Sunday dinner, or a biggie-sized special at that fast food counter.) These extra calories seem invisible because it’s nearly impossible for a person to recall these excess calories when they’re consumed in such small portions. At the end of the week, they just can’t “see” those calories.
Imagine if you put a piece of copier paper on a table and try to measure its height – it would be very difficult. It would likely be as difficult the next day with the second piece of paper and the fourth day after the fourth paper. But a year later, you can obviously see the more obvious height of 365 pieces in a stack. Developing excess body weight is very much like this: pounds adding up after a slow but never- ending calorie-creep, and then “suddenly” we don’t weigh what our driver’s license says we do.
Calories are not like snowballs. You cannot see them one at a time as they go flying past you. Realize, it’s just not as simple as knowing if you don’t eat a slice of cake, you will lose “X” amount of weight. Calories are much more like humidity – invisible and all around you- and eventually you can feel it in your bones.
So the next time you’re tempted to reach for that extra helping at Thanksgiving dinner, remember it might take awhile for it to catch up to you. But like many things that are very small and very quiet, it might just sneak up on you when you least expect it. So learn to look out for those pesky little portions that eventually do add up to that big snow ball!
I hope that this has offered you a helpful insight, and as always I wish you tremendous success on your weight wellness journey.
If you would like to learn strategies to healthy eating or learn about alternative ways to lose weight, contact our office today!